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To Shawn Mendes, From Someone With Anxiety

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Dear Shawn Mendes,

You do not know me, but I feel like your song “In My Blood” was written for me. Every lyric in that song felt like it was written to show me that if you can make something great out of your struggle, so can I.

I’ve spent my life feeling misunderstood, not knowing why my brain was not thinking like the others, why I did not feel like the others, why I always felt more comfortable alone and understood by no one other than myself. I never knew why I was like this and I never bothered to question it. The past two years of my life have been a train wreck. I was diagnosed with chronic migraines, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression all at around 17 years old. I started college, so what people normally describe as being “the best time of your life” ended up being my worst. I’ve seen five psychologists in less than a year and a half, but I still have anxiety and am dancing on the line of a major depression.

Throughout my life, music was my escape from confusion, from sadness, from isolation. On March 22nd, “In My Blood” came out. As soon as I heard that song, all I wanted to do was cry. But your song was so powerful that I had a hard time processing if this was all real or not. As soon as I got to school, I plugged in my phone to my car parked in the college parking lot and turned the volume up. Your song brought tears to my eyes.

I can honestly say that I have never ever felt so many emotions when listening to a song. It’s the first song on my playlist, and I have no intention of moving it. It was like you were singing a song, written for me, to me. Saying thank you for writing it and being courageous enough to share it with the world will never be enough. Every single lyric of that song speaks to me in a way that no other song has ever done.

I spent 20 minutes talking about “In My Blood” with my psychologist when I saw her the next day. I was crying so much that I couldn’t breathe from my nose (my cold was not helping my case, either). My psychologist told me the following, which I really need to tell you: “When someone is gifted and hypersensitive, they feel like they’re an alien in this world, like they aren’t understood. It’s so important to find something that can make them feel like they aren’t extraterrestrial, like they are an earthling. Just the fact that you feel so many emotions listening to this song shows me that you found your something, that you don’t feel so alone when you listen to this song.”

I never cried tears of sadness. They were tears of joy, of relief, of being understood. If Shawn Mendes can live with anxiety and create something so beautiful out of it and show the world that giving up is never possible, then I can do the same.

I have spent the last two years of my life stuck underneath this train wreck, trying to find a way out, but the weight of it all was too much. It’s dark and scary under there, and as much as I tried to cry out for help, no one heard me. “In My Blood” just lifted an enormous piece of the wreck from on top of me, and now I can finally see sunlight, and the weight of it all just got a whole lot lighter.

You may not ever read this message, but that’s OK. I’m OK. You’re OK. That’s what’s most important. But just know, if ever you end up reading this, that even though your song must’ve brought a lot of anxiety upon release, you helped me and so many others feel understood. No one’s life is all sunshine, unicorns and rainbows, and the fact that you produced a song explaining just that made me feel like we aren’t alone, and no one is and ever will be. The biggest number ever will never be enough of times to say thank you. It’s simply not enough. Words are not powerful enough to demonstrate how much your song helped me. They say actions speak louder than words, so maybe you taking off that heavy piece from the two-year train wreck can show you how much you’ve helped. And for that, I will forever be indebted to you.

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Image via Shawn Mendes Facebook page

Originally published: June 22, 2018
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